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  History of Microsoft Flight Simulator

HelloAbout my website

It was in 2003 when, being a great simulator flying buff and an owner of a reasonably large collection of flight simulators, like legendary DID´s Retaliator, Spectrum HoloByte´s Falcon 3.0 and many more, I became seriously interested in the history of the flight simulator legend – Microsoft Flight Simulator. I decided to cover the development of all of its versions ever released. At that time, however, I did not have the foggiest idea how difficult this task would turn out to be. Microsoft Flight Simulator is not only one of the oldest computer flight simulator, but its whole family is the largest in the world. This website actually is not dedicated to history of flying, is not dedicated to generally all flight simulators, like other mentioned. By the way, I would like to recommend you quite good article "Moving Through the History of Flight: Inventors and Innovators". This website is dedicated to the detailed description of the Microsoft Flight Simulator history. This in fact means, that it includes subLOGIC Flight Simulator and few relate add-ons as well. In my opinion, it is necessary to save the information for history. My website started in 2005.

My first and at the beginnings also the only source of information was Internet where you can find either masses of files dedicated to individual versions (Apple II FS2, MSFS2) or special websites that try to follow the whole history. You can find either very brief websites or more detailed and its authors come from various countries, for example from Italy, Australia or a very nice article by Ulrich Klein from Germany (on FlightSim). There is also an article about history of Flight Simulator in Wikipedia, the free Internet encyclopedia. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it is not much correct.

There was the official Microsoft website describing the history of Flight Simulator in English language. Unfortunately it already does not work as well as in other languages.

The Flight Simulator genealogy is fairly well covered from version 3.0 onwards. Nevertheless, earlier versions are much more difficult to track down. Unfortunately, although Internet provides an immense amount of useful information, it is also a source of all conceivable misinformation. To make the matters worse, some erroneous facts are frequently adopted by authors of new articles without proper authentication.

This is the promotional movie for the Flight Simulator History Website.

After a considerably long period of searching I finally found Jos Grupping’s website from the Netherlands which turned out to be the most comprehensive and accurate source of my first information. Jos has been working on the Flight Simulator history for several years. As Jos is an active type of person and has some other interests, there was still a lot to be done in research of Flight Simulator history. That is why I decided to contribute with my own website and my confirmed information.

Flight Simulator History

History research

After some time I realized that I would need my own copies of all the versions. This would be the best way how to find out the years of release, facts about authors and graphics. Otherwise, I would always have to face misinformation, errors and inaccuracies. However, it is not easy to get your own copies, particularly very old ones, Japanese editions and special releases. First, it was necessary to determine the actual beginning of the Flight Simulator history, then to sort out its versions and match the computer platforms for which those versions were designed.

Part of my collection

Part of my collection

OK, let‘s begin with some basic facts

There are various flight simulation programs with very similar or even identical names which have nothing to do with subLOGIC/Microsoft “Flight Simulator” program. For instance, in 1982 Psion released their “Flight Simulation” for ZX 81 and ZX Spectrum, followed by Myrddin Software which produced a similar program for Amstrad CPC in 1984. In 1983 Artic Computing Ltd. made “Flight Simulator” for ZX Spectrum, and in 1985 Microdeal did the same for Sinclair QL.

Two men of subLOGIC - Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment

Two men of subLOGIC - Bruce Artwick and Stu Moment

The very first version of Flight Simulator 1 was created by Bruce Artwick under his company label subLOGIC. It came out in 1980. It was not in January 1979 as stated Wikipedia and many other sources. The first issues were designed for the Apple II and TRS-80. Later, the same producer released another versions designated with Roman II for Apple II, Commodore 64, Atari (8bit), Atari ST, Amiga, Data General/One. There were also versions for NEC PC-9801, NEC PC-8801, Color Computer 3 and MSX. Simultaneously, Artwick (subLOGIC) also prepared releases designated Flight Simulator 1 for IBM PC, Apple Macintosh and Texas Instruments Professional Computer, Flight Simulator 2 for IBM PC and Tandy 1000/ 1200HD/ 2000. They were released under Microsoft label. The author of all of them was Artwick who later sold all Flight Simulator rights to Microsoft. These parallel releases for such a wide range of computers caused immense chaos. Nevertheless, nowadays it is quite normal that a PC game is created by one company and released by another one. Things got even more confused after Artwick left subLOGIC. The company went on producing new flight simulators and flight simulation related accessories (mentioned elsewhere). Microsoft pretends that it has nothing to do with the earliest version and presents Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00 from 1982 as its first version. It should be pointed out that Artwick and his company subLOGIC, later BAO, also programmed further versions for Microsoft until 1996 when BAO, Artwick’s second company, was swallowed by Microsoft for good.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00 and X

Microsoft Flight Simulator X and Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.00

Few important notes about the research

As I have been flying simulators for a considerable long period, my collection comprises many old and present versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator. However, getting earlier versions as well as versions for other computer platforms was much more difficult. Obviously, they were withdrawn from the market long time ago. Therefore I had to buy them either in eBay, Yahoo!Japan auctions or elsewhere. I spent a fortune!!! Thus, after several years my collection was complete.

Still, there was another problem. Most of the early FS versions were designed for other computers than IBM PC or they were designed for very old IBM PC´s with OS DOS, with 5.25 inch floppy drivers. Therefore original computer platforms or their emulators were necessary. The emulators are the computer programs, which can run another programs, also Flight Simulators, created for the other type of computer, for example for Apple II, on some current computer. So, you can run Flight Simulator for Apple II, Amiga or other kind of computer, on your table PC or notebook. You do not need to have the original hardware, which is hard to buy and it is very expensive. It is even possible, with the proper emulator, to run Microsoft Flight Simulator on your mobile phone. BUT! Of course, it is a tricky way to get the old FS running with the emulator. I use mainly DOSBox and MESS for Windows.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2.12 for IBM PC subLOGIC Flight Simulator II for Amiga

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2 for IBM PC and subLOGIC Flight Simulator II for Amiga running on mobile phone

At last, I managed to run and evaluate all my packages, and retrieved information. Unfortunately, even though you own genuine media and manuals, you can never be sure about the exact year of release. In some cases the year of copyright does not correspond to the actual year of release. So, I had to use other sources of information as well. In this way I have compiled the Flight Simulator complete history. Now it is time to present it to you.

You can find a brief description of the website news on the right edge or following the link to the special news page.

 

© 2005 - 2015 Josef  Havlík

 

NAVRCHOLU.cz

 

NEWS (follow the link):

August 24, 2015

Do you want to fly very old versions of Flight Simulator? Do you want to see whole history of MS Flight Simulator in movie? Try my new download.

MSFS2.12+SD HAW

August 14, 2015

33 years old MS Flight Simulator 1. 00 user manual for download.

MS Flight Simulator 1.00 user manual

March 10, 2015

10th anniversary of my Flight Simulator history website!!!

February 20, 2015

Lockheed Martin's Prepar3D v2.5 released.

Prepar3D

December 18, 2014

MSFS X: Steam edition released.

MSFS X: Steam edition

July 26, 2012

Next development of MS Flight canceled.

MS Flight

February 29, 2012

Special date: new MS Flight released.

Microsoft Flight Website

November 15, 2011

New 3:33 min. promotional  movie. The complete 37:33 min. history movie is now on-line on My YouTube channel

November 14, 2010

See an interview with Bruce Artwick !

Bruce Artwick - June 3, 2010

March 10, 2010

The 5th web anniversary!!! News here.

December 15, 2009

New video page and the Flight Simulator X page.

Microsoft Flight Simulator X

December 4, 2007

I released the first particular page for one version of Flight Simulator.

subLOGIC Flight Simulator 1 for Apple II - sub-version with 12 x 12 square scenery

April 30, 2007

An interview for GemeStar Germany magazine.

March 10, 2005

The best news is that this website was launched.